Can a driver be held liable for damage to a private fence installed within the street right of way?
Question Details: Also, can the property owner be held liable for damage to the car? The setting is a residential neighborhood with a 50' street right of way and a 22' road surface. Resident installed a fence 3' from the edge of the pavement, parallel to the street. The fence is approximately 20' inside the boundary between the ROW and the property owner's property line. A car ran off the pavement and damaged the fence as the car went through it; there was also damage to the car. A police report was made and no citations were issued.
The car's driver is liable for the damage to the fence: whether it was properly installed where it was and whether or not the owner could have been fined by the government or forced to remove it, 1) it was not on the road itself--and cars are supposed to stay on the road; and 2) it was stationary--and it is negligent, or careless, to hit stationary objects. The driver therefore damaged it negligently and so is liable for the damage. Similarly, since the driver was at fault, only he is responsible for the damage to his own car.